You know what? Even in these hard times there will be people who are jolly. Even those ones who, year in, year out, complain. And we all have something to complain about. We might be short of money. We might be struggling to find that perfect gift. We might be buying everything still at 7.30pm on Christmas Eve when we've told the lads we'll be in the Red Lion at 8. Whichever way, there will be stress, and annoyance, and inconvenience, and hardship. And credit card bills.
But it will still be the season to be jolly. Tra-la-la-la-laaa. La la. La. La.
I think my favourite complaint about the Christmas period is when it all officially starts. You know those people who put their decorations up in the middle of November? Jeeze... Don't you just hate those people? Well... no, actually. I just think they're a bit sad and misguided. How about those people who put them up on December 1st? Don't they realise it's over three weeks until Christmas? Of course they do. And December, to them, is the month of Christmas, so let them have their tradition. Twelve days before? Who says the twelve days of Christmas are before it?
Second to that is the people who harp on about how councils, businesses and organizations aren't allowing people to call Christmas "Christmas", and how it has to be "Happy Holidays" so it doesn't offend minorities and other cultures. I think last year I must have come across this complaint a hundred times, despite not finding any hard evidence of anyone anywhere actually banning the festive period from being what it is: the mad rush to buy as many commercially available trinkets, gadgets, mass-marketed hardware and objects as the world's financial state will allow. Plus over-eating and over-drinking.
That's pretty much what it's about, when it comes down to it. It's about giving gifts you know people will love, and getting things you'd like even if you didn't know you'd like them. It's about dinner as a family, drinks with friends, being with fellow workers without it being about work, and it's about sharing quality time with loved ones.
How many people do you hear complaining about "having to refer to Christmas as Happy Holidays" do you know, who go to church on Christmas morning to celebrate the birth of their Lord Jesus Christ?
Have a quick think about that while I quickly look up the names of the Three Wise Men and pretend in the next paragraph or two that I knew what their names were...
So, you thought about it. And if you do know someone who does all that Jesusy stuff, the chances are you've heard them complain about Christmas taken in the context I detailed above. Eating food? Drinking booze? Time with family? Pfffft! Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Our Lord Jesus H. Christ, not all that commercialized stuff. Why, there must be people out there saying they celebrate Christmas and hate it being called the Holidays that don't even know the Three Wise Men were Melchior, Jasper and Beckham. Sorry. Beetlejuice...azar. I think...
My point is: Christmas is really about what you want it to be. I mean, I've read a fair bit about Christmas traditions, and the Nativity, and so on. Three Wise Men... or Kings? And were there three? Or seven? Was one of them a woman? Posssssiiiiibbblllllyyyyyyy. The great thing about Christianity is that even they can't agree on what exactly happened at the nativity, where exactly it was, and when it was. Which, when you think about it, is a bit like two parents bringing their kids up with massively conflicting opinions, morals and attitudes, while trying to bribe the kids to their way of thinking with whatever annual reward they want.
And Lo, Christianity did shoot itself in the foot with that one.
Whenever you decide to start celebrating Christmas (if you do at all) just try and remember not everyone thinks like you. It shouldn't matter to you if someone is offended by you saying "Merry Christmas" because you probably haven't really thought about what deeply held but ultimately probably piss-poor reason they have for being offended by it. They've probably not thought about your deeply held but probably piss-poor reasons for being offended by their being offended.
Maybe if we all spent a little more time trying to make just one day in the year peaceful, joyful, and harmonious for everyone, regardless of what they believe the time of year to be in terms of historical or mythical importance, we could go one tiny step towards making the world a better place.
Or rather, the people on it a better people.
Merry Christmas, everyone.